Two students in a History supervision

History and Politics

History and Politics at Cambridge is an exciting new Honours degree which will run for the first time in October 2017. It offers subjects from our highly-regarded History and Politics and International Relations courses, together with bespoke papers which will allow students to explore the space between the two disciplines.

Students will develop skills in analysing the operation of power and politics across histories, institutions, and societies around the world.   Students will also be able to build strengths in understanding the nature of evidence, methodology, and approaches in both History and Politics.  They will be able to choose from a wide range of topics in British, European, American and World history and politics.

Cambridge is uniquely placed to teach History and Politics and International Relations together. Both Faculties are widely regarded as world-leading.  The History Faculty is one of the largest in the United Kingdom and is consistently ranked as the best in research and teaching assessments. It has internationally recognised experts in all relevant fields of study.  The Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) is a medium-sized department with about 30 academics with a huge range of specialisms. It has particular research strengths in international politics, international history and international law, comparative politics and political thought.

Staff in the Faculty of History and the Department of Politics and International Studies have a wide range of shared interests in political and international history, the origins of contemporary politics and international relations, and the history of political ideas. This new degree balances a strong grounding in the two component subjects with the opportunity to explore the ways in which historical and political understanding together illuminate the modern world. A relevant reading list, which may be of interest to those interested in Politics, is included on the HSPS page.

Course requirements

Applicants will have a variety of relevant examination qualifications, though not necessarily in both politics and history; they will be expected to demonstrate an interest in both subjects and will be assessed on their potential to succeed in them. Strong applicants will probably have studied some period of history to A level or equivalent; however A level History is not a requirement. One or more essay-based subjects are desirable, particularly if they have looked at topics from a historical perspective.

The application process

All applicants for History and Politics across the University will be asked to sit a pre-interview written assessment at their school, college or local testing centre on 2nd November. These will form part of our holistic assessment of candidates' achievements, abilities and potential and are no more, and no less important than any of the other pieces of information considered during the admissions process. Registration for this assessment closes on 15th October. Further information can be found on the University website.

We ask all applicants in History and Politics to send us one example of recent written work, which may be discussed at interview. Candidates should normally expect two interviews: one in History and one in Politics. The former will consider the candidate’s comprehension and analysis of a short written text, which will have been made available to the candidate shortly before the interview. No preparation or specialist knowledge is required – we wish to assess how you read and cope with unfamiliar material of the kind that you will regularly encounter in your historical work as an undergraduate. In either interview, candidates should be prepared to discuss their relevant interests and potential directions they may wish to follow.

Typical conditional offers

Our typical conditional offer for History and Politics will be A*AA at A level. IB offers are usually for a minimum of 40-42 points, to include 776 or 777 at Higher level in relevant subjects. Offers are designed to be realistic, taking into account individual circumstances, and to reflect potential and likely levels of achievement. Most of those who receive offers will attain the grades required.